20th Celtic Music Feis kicks off in Ocean Shores

The festival, spanning the broad range of Celtic music, runs until Sunday

The 20th annual Celtic Music Feis began in earnest Tuesday afternoon at the Galway Bay Irish Pub in Ocean Shores as the days-long celebration of Irish, Scottish and Celtic music comes once again to the county.

Bands new and returning will perform across the spectrum of Celtic music until the festival wraps up Sunday afternoon.

“Irish music is not just Danny Boy anymore. It’s quite a mixture of things,” said Liam Gibbons, festival co-founder and co-owner of the Galway Bay. “We try to keep a nice mix, a balance, balladeers, Celtic rock, traditional jigs and reels, bagpipes.”

A number of new and returning acts will take to the stages from the Galway Bay to the Ocean Shores Convention Center, as well as peripheral performances at the 8th Street Ale House in Hoquiam.

“You got 25 bands for the whole week over different stages. The Fenians are new this year. They’re out of LA,” Gibbons said. “The other headliner who’s been here before is Celtica Pipes.”

Other performers include Rory Makem, new to the festival, and returning crowd favorites like Sean Daly and the Shams, the Whiskeydicks and Coming up Threes.

“We’ll have our battle of the bands again. That’s always a classic thing,” Gibbons said. “We’re about four or five years into it so they’re doing all kinds of stuff. Those ones that do well together, we try to keep matching up every year, so it gets epic.”

This year saw banner presales, up 39% from last year, said Chris Doyle, the other half of the festival and pub’s management.

“It’s our strongest presale year ever,” Doyle said.

Most of the guests are from out-of-county, Gibbons said.

“It’s mostly from the Seattle/Portland areas, but we get a bunch from other states,” Gibbons said. “We get people from all 50 states.”

Vendors will be present at the convention center when shows begin playing there on Thursday, Gibbons said. There will also be expanded traditional food offerings during the festival, Doyle said.

While online sales are closed, passes are available at the door, Gibbons said. The music schedule is available online at https://celticmusicfeis.com/

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@thedailyworld.com.

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